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Ariz. Medieval and Renaissance Center to discuss immigration at annual meet

April 12, 2011

The Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS) will promote the long view of history on the subjects of immigration, migration, borders, and interactions with non-native populations when it hosts the Medieval Academy of America, April 14-16, at the Chaparral Suites Resort in Scottsdale.

After passage of the Arizona law SB 1070 last year, the interdisciplinary conference was threatened with a boycott by some of its members. The majority of the Academy members voted to keep the conference in Arizona, and the MAA planning committee and executive board encouraged submissions on the topic of medieval immigration and its interconnected social issues.

The 86th annual meeting of the MAA will feature 12 plenary and individual sessions on topics such as “Medieval Borders” and “Fourteenth-Century Aliens and Exiles” besides related individual papers. A plenary panel on “Medieval Backgrounds of Contemporary Issues: Immigration Then and Now” will include Kirk S. Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona. MAA president Elizabeth A. R. Brown (Graduate Center, CUNY) will address the immigration matter from a broader context in her paper “Moral Imperatives and Conundrums of Conscience.”

“Fear of the other is rooted deep in the human psyche, and exploring how that fear both manifested itself and was dealt with in the past should have a positive impact on how we deal with it in the present,” says ACMRS director Robert E. Bjork.

For more information about the conference, contact ACMRS at 480-965-9323,, online at

ACMRS was established in 1981 by the Arizona Board of Regents as a statewide research unit. Located centrally on the campus of Arizona State University, ACMRS is charged with coordinating and stimulating the interdisciplinary exploration of Medieval and Renaissance culture. Its activities cover a period roughly from 400 C.E., the fall of the Roman Empire, to 1700 C.E. ACMRS organizes programs at Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University and the University of Arizona.